Chicago Cubs: Five takeaways from Opening Weekend
Chicago Cubs: Ross has faith in Schwarber and Happ
I’m not here to disparage Maddon, because he’s the best manager the Cubs have had in my lifetime. He brought the Cubs a trophy, turned around the attitude and atmosphere surround the team, and inspired several of our current stars to realize their full potential.
That being said, one thing Maddon was known for was tinkering, playing match-ups, and listening to his so-called “nerds.” While his success and results were mostly unrivaled over the five seasons he presided over the Cubs, one thing Maddon didn’t always do was let the young guys struggle through things.
Case in point – Kyle Schwarber didn’t hit regularly against lefties until last year. Sure, his stats said he shouldn’t, but so did Anthony Rizzo‘s before he got a chance to see them. It’s the classic chicken or the egg and plenty of people will tell you the Cubs didn’t have time to wait for guys to “figure it out” in the middle of a contention window. Well, if you were watching most of last year, especially during the second half – would you say Schwarber started figuring some stuff out?
Ian Happ burst on the scene in 2017 after some of the core guys had already established themselves and bathed in champagne in November of 2016. Once called up in 2017, Happ launched 24 home runs in only 264 at bats, prompting many to anoint him the newest successful first round pick for the Cubs. Unfortunately, after an Opening Day home run in 2018, he had an uneven season plagued by strikeouts that only got worse last year as he was kept in the minor leagues until July 26.
He did have a nice two months to end last summer, but he has also had to share time with Albert Almora and others since coming to the bigs. It looks like that has finally changed through three games, as Ross has elected to keep Happ in center field so far. So far, so good.